Pete Townshend Writes Song For ‘The Americans’
Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on
Pete Townshend will debut a brand-new song on FX’s acclaimed ‘The Americans’ this month, even as Showtime’s ‘Californication’ features a new remix of one of his signature solo hits.
Townshend wrote the song, called ‘It Must Be Done,’ with the show’s composer Nathan Barr. It will appear on the show on April 30 in a scene that features, according to Billboard, “sex and murder.” Townshend’s music has been a part of ‘The Americans,’ which is about a pair of KGB agents living undercover in the United States in the ’80s before. The Who’s hit ‘Eminence Front’ was used in the commercial (embedded above) that ran leading up to its 2013 premiere.
That follows a trend for Townshend, who says licensing his music – both with and without the Who – has helped fund his more esoteric musical undertakings. Perhaps the most notable recent usage has been on the opening sequence of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ which premiered in 2000.
“Long before I got into the matter of commercial publishing, it was obvious that I was someone who had spent his life writing these anthems and that they could help me pay for dangerously artistic things,” Townshend tells Billboard. The idea, he says, was: “I wouldn’t have spend my time touring constantly.”
Townshend says Who bandmate Roger Daltrey initially had concerns over licensing and, for a while, Townshend backed away from the practice. Unfortunately, with the advent of the 1980s, the Who stopped recording new music for a lengthy period, and Townshend says his music suddenly disappeared.
“In the early-’70s, I was one of the first to license for commercials and Roger Daltrey was perturbed by it,” Townshend says. “He wasn’t angered by the license, but by licensing without tying the song to the master. Our music, the Who’s records, were not being heard. I think I overreacted and for four or five years I stopped licensing songs. Then the Who’s music went off the map. This was in the ’80s – ’83, ’84 – it wasn’t even on the radio. After awhile I thought let me try this again and I started licensing music and it has created an incredible interest in our work.”
Two separate versions of Townshend’s ‘Let Me Love Open The Door’ will be showcased on ‘Californication’ on April 13. A remix by producer Philip Stier opens the Showtime program, and the original 1980 Top 10 hit version will air at its close.